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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 11, Heather spent Labor Day Weekend With Family And Friends

Updated on May 22, 2018
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

On the patio, Peter was grilling burgers and hot dogs

Burgers and hot dogs on the grill
Burgers and hot dogs on the grill

It was Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, 1996

Peter and Sheila had invited Paul, Heather, Scott and his girl friend, Rachel, over to their house for a barbecue supper on the back patio. Scott and Rachel had been a couple since high school when they were in the same class. Rachel currently worked part-time at her father’s local newspaper, the Oak Springs Enterprise. She was a reporter and writer, taking classes in journalism and media at the local college with Scott. Scott was taking agriculture classes at night and worked with Bart Bevins on the Bevins farms by day. He would complete his Farming Operations Associate Degree in the coming spring.

As typically happened, the girls, Sheila, Heather and Rachel chatted in the kitchen as they prepared the salad and fixings. The guys, Peter, Paul and Scott, gathered on the patio as Peter prepared hamburgers and hot dogs on the barbecue. College football was one topic of discussion among the guys. Specifically, the new Big 12 Conference that had just kicked off on Saturday with a game between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University in Manhattan, Kansas, was discussed. Paul thought adding the four Texas Universities would make a stronger conference for the future. Scott said he really preferred the old Big 8 structure, where Missouri was more competitive. He feared that would not be the case in the Big 12. Peter listened to them debate, but indicated college football was not high on his priority of interests.

Heather shared with Sheila and Rachel that she had been working with Jennifer to begin to explore their family history. Sheila and Rachel were interested in the things Heather had found out from Paul about his side of their family. Rachel seemed particularly interested in learning more about the computer program, PAF, that Jennifer was starting to use. Heather then shared that she had spoken to Jennifer just briefly Friday afternoon about a piece of paper Karen had run across in a box of books she was unpacking earlier in the week. It was a brief paper her mother, Mildred, had apparently written, as a young person, about the founding of Oak Springs, back in 1833. As they discussed this, Rachel mentioned she had heard her father say that their family had come to Oak Springs in the 1870s. That led to more discussion, of course.

Guests were free to use the yard and gardens to browse and gather

Flower beds in the yard
Flower beds in the yard

Labor Day by The Bevins Trust at the Homeplace Inn Heritage Room and environs

In recent years, the traditional family picnic of the Bevins family on Labor Day had become an annual celebration of the work of all those involved with The Bevins Trust, essentially a company picnic. This had been especially the case since the completion of the Heritage Room at the Homeplace Inn. When the weather permitted, while the late afternoon meal was catered in the Heritage Room, guests were free to use the yard and gardens outside as well to gather and talk and share their experiences. Many other towns people would be invited to share the festivities as well, as nearly everyone interacted with The Bevins Trust activities at one time or another during the year. This year, the arrival of Matt, Susie and their children as new members of the community made this a special occasion. Also, Nicole and Christopher arrived together, their first time at such a local event as ‘a couple.’ Finally, Heather learned on her arrival that there was another new person about to become a regular in town.

Don Kirk, lawyer with Carter and Christopher Ogden in their Ogden Law Firm, announced that his son, Brian, currently a corporate lawyer in St. Louis, would be moving to Oak Springs to join Christopher and Don in the newly restructured law firm of Ogden and Kirk, following Carter’s retirement in the coming weeks. Christopher added that they were pleased to be able to make the informal announcement here, today, among family and friends. A formal announcement would follow, at the appropriate time. Heather learned later on that Brian was a year behind Christopher in school, and a year ahead of Jennifer. She always liked to ask those questions and get the answers early so she knew how such things stood. It was just her way. As she moved around the room, talking to family and friends, Heather also learned that Karen’s youngest daughter, Erin, and her husband, Mark, they lived in Austin, TX, were here for the weekend. They had let Karen know that she would become a grandmother, again, shortly after the first of the year. Heather knew that Karen had been hoping to get that information soon, and now she had it. Karen’s oldest daughter, Lori, had also flown in for the weekend. Lori had been a flight attendant with a major airline out of Los Angeles for many years. It was nice to get to talk to Lori. Her appearance was nearly a clone of Karen, Heather felt. Lori always had interesting stories to share about her travels and the interesting people with whom she occasionally interacted.

The Heritage Room was large enough that they could put several long tables, with chairs, in the center of the room and still have room on the fringes for folks to gather in small groups to talk but still allow others to move about the room easily. The caterers that Karen had hired had set up for the buffet on tables along the wall nearest the kitchen. They had done this enough times now that everyone worked very smoothly together. The caterers allowed both family and employees the opportunity to be guests as well as take turns helping out with setup, ‘hosting,’ and cleanup responsibilities. Heather was happy to take her assigned turn at setup earlier, and cleanup later, on this particular occasion. In between, she was able to spend some time with Kari Kinne, her good school friend and neighbor, who had come with her parents. Bart had invited the Kinne family because they worked together so closely on their cattle herds. Heather and Kari enjoyed sharing a little gossip while they ate from their conversations around the room earlier in the day.

They were going to meet at the Library in St. Louis on Saturday

St. Louis County Public Library
St. Louis County Public Library

Early Tuesday Morning at the Stables

Jennifer mentioned to Heather that she had a new ‘student’ of family history study to work with. Heather replied, “Was that what you and Brian Kirk were talking about, so intensely?”

“Yes, it was. His mother had given him a folder of information about their family before she died. He said he hadn’t taken the opportunity to really work on it, with his career just getting under way. We got to talking when I saw him looking at some of the old photos of our family on the walls of the Heritage Room.”

Heather said, “Those do grab your attention. I’m not surprised he found them interesting. Did he have the folder with him?”

“No. But after supper, I brought him over here to my office and we talked about the PAF computer program you and I had just started working on. He said he’d like to learn that, too, when he gets settled in here, in a few weeks.” Jennifer hesitated a moment, then decided to tell Heather one more thing. “And, since I didn’t get to do any research yesterday, with the holiday, I’m going to go to the Saint Louis County Public Library on Saturday. I’ve been wanting to go over there, for a while.”

Heather smiled, nodded her head, and replied, “And he will meet you there with his folder of information, I’ll bet.”

“He did mention he would do that, yes.” Jennifer smiled broadly with perhaps a hint of a blush as she turned back to her work.

[Continued in Episode HG 12]

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. These episodes parallel the timeline of “The Homeplace Revisited” novel in this series.

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      14 months ago from Hollister, MO

      "The Homeplace Saga" stories now span 1833 to 2049... quite a few generations (7-9). Still a bit to fill in, perhaps! ;-) They all tie together, of course...

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Never a dull moment for the families. Sounding more contemporary now with events like the games and the barbecue, but you still manage to take us back to the 1800s with a letter and hearsay. Really good!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      14 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill! I'm always fascinated by what you pick up on in my stories. Always appreciate your support! ;-)

      I suspect the barbecue phenom was the 50s, leisure time and disposable income would be factors, I feel. Did you find and answer? Good question.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's one heck of a library!!! I haven't seen one that large since D.C.

      Barbecue...I wonder when that started? Early 1900's??? I'll have to look it up.

      Enjoyable read as always!


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